Jan Bowman

Entry # 132 – READERS TALK BOOKS – Review from Laura Mueller

Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential AND HOW YOU CAN ACHIEVE YOURS  

by Shirzad Chamine http://positiveintelligence.com/ 

— Reviewed by Laura Mueller – February 2013

Is our mind our best friend or worst enemy? While it goads us into preparing well for work we do, it awakens us at 3 a.m. with anxious thoughts of utter failure. Our mind continually generates unbidden thoughts that once helped our early ancestors increase their chances of survival.  But in modern society, such habits of the mind serve to limit potential.

Popular Stanford University lecturer, Shirzad Chamine, reveals how to achieve one’s true potential, both personally and professionally in his new book, Positive Intelligence. Chamine, whose large firm coaches executives in major fortune 500 Companies, describes 10 well-disguised mental saboteurs that cause significant damage and prevent people from achieving their true potential. 

Chamine says that our primary limitations arise from a part of the mind, he names, The Judge, which directs our reactive, past-referencing mind. Every human being comes equipped with a judge – regardless of culture, career or contribution. This Judge becomes our primary Saboteur by making us judge ourselves; judge others; and judge the events and circumstances in our lives. Finding them all lacking leads to one of the Judge’sbiggest, most destructive lies:  “You will be happy when…” The Judge convinces us we can’t be happy with our current circumstances, turning the “when”into an ever-moving (some future) target never reached. [p. 62-3]

Feelings of anger, blame, scorn, anxiety, disappointment or betrayal are clear indicators that our distress is driven by the Judge’sevaluation based on the messages from our mental saboteurs.  When we pay attention to the state of things as they actually are, rather than the Judge’sassessment of them, only then, can we discern what has occurred with balanced understanding and figure out how to move forward. Chamine says that our distress is not caused by what has happened, but rather by our Judge’s reaction to it.

Chamine says that the Judge is aided and abetted by nine secondary helpers, including the Controller, Hyper-Achiever, Restless One, Stickler, Pleaser, Hyper-Vigilante, Avoider, Victim or Hyper-Rationalizer.  Readers are challenged to ask themselves which of these are primary helpers in this process. He asks: Which is yours? How strong is this mind-habit in you right now?

To increase our Positive Intelligence Quotients (PQ) to deal with internal habits of the mind that limit potential, Chamine offers three strategies:

1)   Weaken our Saboteurs—our automatic and habitual mind patterns;

2)   Strengthen our Sage—our self-fulfilling prophesier of gifts and wisdom; and

3)   Magnify our PQ Brain Muscles—our attention to our five physical sensations.

To direct these strategies, Chamine enlists the help of a part of the mental process that gives rise to perspective.  He describes as the Sage that part of us that has access to our wisdom, insights, and untapped mental powers. Its perspective is: Any problem you are facing is: a gift and an opportunity, or could be actively turned into one.

Chamine says that we can activate our Positive Intelligence (PQ) by activating and strengthening our PQ brain so that we can stop the chatter of the negative influences of the Judge, Saboteur, and secondary destructive forces that limit potential.  As the Sage grows stronger and helps us empathize, explore, innovate, navigate and act decisively, we grow and reach our true potential.

Chamine advocates exercises that strengthen our mental muscles by commanding our mind to stop chattering and direct its attention to any of our five physical sensations, such as: feeling the weight of our body on our seat, or feet on the floor, or sensations of our breathing. Even shifting attention for 10 seconds is a PQ rep designed to strengthen the positive aspects of our mental function. Sitting in a meeting, walking the dog, taking a shower, cooking or cleaning are all opportunities for PQ reps. Thus, doing 100 PQ reps each day keeps the Saboteurs away, resulting in life-changing experiences for ourselves and game-changing opportunities for our families, workplaces and communities. 

Reviewed by:     Laura A. Mueller, M.Ac., L.Ac.410-707-1394 
Acupuncture & Zero Balancing©  Feel free to comment on the blog site or contact Laura, if you’d like to write to her about this review.


to send me your thoughts about what you’ve read (whether old or new) and want to share and I’ll plan to post it on the first Tuesday of each month.  I’m looking for a March and April post, so here’s what you do:
Write a couple of paragraphs if you would like to talk about a book.  Don’t worry about being particularly academic.  This is not intended to be a formal review, unless you really long to write one, and in any case – write what you wish from your own impressions and reactions.  Then send an email to me. I will collect these, edit a bit, if necessary, before posting your comments on the first Tuesday of the month under the title: 

READERS TALK – Books.email:   janbowmanwriter@gmail.com
Jan Bowman’s work has appeared in Roanoke Review, Big Muddy, Broadkill Review, Trajectory, Third Wednesday, Minimus, Buffalo Spree (97), Folio, The Potomac Review, Musings, Potato Eyes, and others. She won the 2011 Roanoke Review Prize for Fiction.  She received an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s 2012 Short Story Award for New Writers. Her stories have been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, Best American Short Stories, two O’Henry Awards,  and a story was a finalist in the “So To Speak” Fiction Contest. She is working on two collections of short stories and currently shopping for a publisher for a completed story collection. She has nonfiction work pending publication in Spring 2013 Issues of Trajectory and Pen-in-Hand. She writes a weekly blog of “Reflections” on the writing life and posts regular interviews with writers and publishers.   Learn more at:

Website – www.janbowmanwriter.com

Blogsite – http://janbowmanwriter.blogspot.com